The General Register Office for England and Wales (GRO) is the section of the United Kingdom HM Passport Office responsible for the civil registration of births (including stillbirths), adoptions, marriages, civil partnerships and deaths in England and Wales and for those same events outside the UK if they involve a UK citizen and qualify to be registered in various miscellaneous registers. With a small number of historic exceptions involving military personnel it does not deal with records of such events occurring within the land or territorial waters of Scotland, Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland; those entities' registration systems have always been separate from England and Wales.
The GRO was founded in 1836 by the , and civil registration commenced in 1837. Its head is the Registrar General. Probably the most distinguished person associated with the GRO in the nineteenth century, although he was never its head, was William Farr. The current holder of the post is Sarah Rapson.
The GRO supplies copies of birth, marriage, civil partnership certificates and death certificates, either online, via www.direct.gov.uk/gro or from one of the local register offices that act on behalf of the GRO.
The General Register Office is part of Her Majesty's Passport Office and oversees civil registration in England and Wales. They maintain the national archive of all births, marriages and deaths dating back to 1837.
Applications for birth, marriage and death registrations may be made online. The current charge for a certificate will be found on the website along with a form for making the application. Payments by debit and credit cards are accepted.
The only other way of obtaining a birth, marriage or death registration is by applying to the county record office of the county concerned. Indexes of registrations with limited information are available from FreeBMD and a number of pay websites.